Publisher: Rebel Studios
Player Count: 1-4 Players
Solo mode: Yes
Game Length: 60-90 Minutes
Complexity 2.25/5

In the beautifully illustrated game of Meadow, you take on the role of nature observers wandering the countryside, exploring and revealing the stories of the plants, insects, animals and the landscapes around you. Centered around a series of unique card drafting phases, players will be managing their hands to build a tableau that will be used to grow a set of cards representing the natural chain of life. Earn points by becoming the most skilled observer, collect souvenirs and fulfill objectives around the campfire.


The idea of observing nature as it unfolds and interacts may seem overly ambiguous for a board game, but in Meadow, you take control of miniature geographic settings as life interacts and blossoms. Just like real life, you begin with a slice of land equipped for hosting specific plants, insects and animals—it’s the circle of life at its genesis.

Throughout the game you’ll draw and play cards featuring different interactions in nature. This might be a beetle that enjoys rocky terrain or a bird that requires berries to eat. As play progresses new animals are introduced… even homes and fences. Each card features a symbol representing a resource in nature, the symbols required to play that card and an endgame point value.

During your turn, you have the option to draft a card from the game’s 16 card, 4×4 grid and play 1 in your personal tableau. In order to play a card, you’ll need to have the necessary symbols visibly available in front of you. Once you’ve met the criteria, you play the newly achieved card on top of a card featuring one the necessary resources—sort of representing the consumption of that land, animal or food. This process continues, growing multiple stacks or “mini-stories” that serve as a tableau of ever changing available symbols (since the top card is typically the only active symbol for that stack – apart from the original land type). New stacks can be started by playing a card with a basic plot of land.

Where Meadow gets interesting is in its grid-based drafting system. Each round, each player has 5 actions represented by dual-purpose path tokens. Each path token can be played on 1 of 3 sides of the grid. Each path card features a number from 1 to 4 specifying which card they will draft along that row or column that turn. This is similar to the drafting in Quadropolis or a bit like Targi (if you’re familiar with either of those). Playing your path token will also block that space for the rest of the round limiting where following players may play.

These are dual-purpose path tokens and the 2nd option is to play your token around the campfire. The campfire is a second board that tracks the current round as well showcases community objects. With only a limited number of action spaces, not everyone will be able to visit the campfire. The secondary actions allow a player to break the rules in certain ways such as taking a card from any spot on the nature grid, drawing 3 face down cards and keeping 1, playing 2 cards into your tableau instead of 1 or selecting road tokens which allow you different card playing options. Choosing this secondary action does eliminate playing the normal, single card into your tableau that turn.

The community objectives on the campfire board take effect when a player has achieved 2 specific symbols in their tableau and can be acquired just by playing at the campfire.

Play continues 6 or 8 rounds (depending on player count). At the end, the player with the most points is declared the greatest observer.


The artwork in Meadow is universally loved for good reason. Each card features a beautiful, colorful and unique watercolor image. You’l enjoy the squirrels, butterflies, birds and trees, each telling its own enchanting story. Regardless of the gameplay, I can see Meadow being embraced for the artwork alone.

The components add a lot of personality to the game as well. The game’s card decks are broken into 4 categories each represented by a direction. These decks sit nicely in 4 foldable, cardboard deck holders that lock in nicely to the main board. The circular, double-sided campfire board provides visual contract and charm to the game.

Overall, this is an incredibly attractive production that will lure you into the world of Meadow.


➕ Captivating watercolor illustrations

➕ Nice components

➕ Fun theme & “story”

➕ Fairly easy to learn

➕ Solo mode is well done and plays quickly


➖ Game length goes a little long

➖ Can lead to analysis paralysis

➖ Cards are random—it can be frustrating waiting on a card that never shows up


Fans of nature themed games and tableau builders are going to get the most out of Meadow. Thematically, it stands out in the nature field (see what I did there?) with its unique story-like gameplay.

What is the best thing about Meadow?

The best thing about Meadow is the game’s beautiful artwork. There are so many different illustrations and each one is captivating in its own way.


I’ve heard a lot about Meadow for quite awhile. How it’s a peaceful and relaxing game where you frolic through the garden gazing at the bugs. I’ve also heard people praise it for its non-combative gameplay.

I think it’s important to first dispel these rumors.

Meadow is a think-y game where you’re managing a multi-layered tableau. Planning is critical as you pursue objectives and personal goals… and just when you’re ready to draw the last piece an opponent comes out of the woodwork to grab your card (even if they didn’t need it) forcing you into a downward spiral of pain.

Ok, so that might be a bit of an over-exaggeration, but Meadow is a game where you’re simultaneously juggling multiple facets in your mind at once. Choosing when to “spend” a card to gain another can leave you second guessing yourself for days. The same can be said for playing your path tokens. While there are always multiple points to draw a card or take an action, there is usually a “best” play and this is where my first issue with the game comes in: the game is a bit too long for itself.

In theory, this should be a pleasant, easy-going, decently fast-paced game, but those think-y turns—especially during crunch time—can really slow down the flow of the game. There is a lot to consider each turn and this was bound to happen. Even when you plan ahead, the card grid can look completely different by your next turn. Ultimately, this is a think-y game where you have to stay on your toes.

While Meadow is a bit of a group solitaire game by some standards, the community goals and card drafting provide the opportunity for interaction by blocking someone or stealing the card they want. It doesn’t sound like a very pleasant game, huh?

Those criticisms are shared a bit tongue-in-cheek. I think Meadow is a fine game that grows on me with each play. The entire production is classy and captivating. The artwork alone is an amazing accomplishment. Additionally, I’ve talked a lot about the game telling a story. I’m not sure how impactful this idea is for everyone, but I really got into this aspect. As each stack in your tableau grows, so does the micro story of that tiny place in space:

Imagine that you begin with a small plot of land playing host to some beetles or berries. A tree might grow up on the land right before your eyes. Before long a bird makes its way looking for food and builds a nest in the tree. Sometime later a fence might be built or even a house. Animals such as foxes or squirrels can be seen across the yard. And before you know it, those beetles have made their way inside the house and you have to call an exterminator.

I’m a big fan of the card drafting mechanic here—it provides a lot of opportunity for fun decisions as you weigh when and how to use your path tokens. The campfire seems a little tacked on thematically, but it also provides a place for community goals as well opportunities to cash in on your dual purpose actions.

The game’s length is a bit of a challenge, but I really like Meadow as a solo game. The AI isn’t brilliant, but it’s super easy to maintain and allows you to move through the game at your own pace. This completely eliminates waiting around for your opponents. At that point, if the game takes too long, the only person you can blame is yourself.

Nature themed games are all the rage right now. While Meadow isn’t the best in this category, it is a solid game that provides a quality experience. The think-y nature of the game took me by surprise and I felt a little betrayed by it. I was expecting something more along the lines of Parks or Wingspan, but Meadow wants you to think—as in using your brain. At first, my response was somewhere along the lines of “how dare you!” But, the more I play the more I become familiar with the choices and mapping out my strategy and the game slows down in the right way. It really does become about telling the story of your small pieces of land and the beauty that surrounds it. I hesitantly recommend Meadow, because it may take you by surprise. This is more on the challenging side of your typical family-weight game, but I think it could potentially be pleasing to the Parks or Wingspan crowd looking to step up their game.